North Bergen High School students were treated to “College Night” at Schuetzen Park on Thursday, Oct. 11. Schuetzen Park was filled with college hopefuls hoping to find a school that was best for them. Over 50 colleges, universities, and trade schools along with U.S. Army, Marine and Navy recruiters were available.
The high school Guidance Department held the event at Schuetzen Park because it was the biggest area that could house such a large population of students. The event was open to all students, although juniors and seniors were the expected students to attend since they are well on their way towards college.
Director of Guidance Allen Pascual said that “College Night” participation usually varies from 50 to 70 schools. Pascual’s advice was to “go around to every table, see what each college and universities have to offer.” He urges students “to ask questions about scholarships and financial aid.”
“I invite kids to explore, don’t shut any doors,” said Pascual.
Some students had undecided majors which made it difficult for them to sort through the schools during “College Night”.
“I just want to see all the colleges and see what they offer.” - Emmanuel Cantos
“I just want to see all the colleges and see what they offer,” said student Emmanuel Cantos.
Juniors took advantage of “College Night” to determine which of the 55 schools suited them best.
Junior Rebecca Laballe was “getting an early start and wanting to see what [schools are] out there.”
Support from family and friends
Students also brought in support in the form of their families and friends to help them sort through the schools. Junior Jacklyn Perei came with her mother Cheryl Stout, Jason Quma had his sister Mercy Quma as support, and junior Natasha Londono came with her parents. Senior Emmanuel Cantos attended with his sister Fatima and his mother Gloria.
“I want to make sure that she doesn’t say no to any school, to open up her opportunities,” said Senior Megan Molana’s mother Miriam.
“I’m here to support him so he can explore the other options,” said Junior Christian Guzman’s mother Jeannine Marra.
Tanya Morales said her oldest son, who is now a senior at Pace University, learned so much from “College Night” that she decided to bring her younger son, junior Brandon Morales.
“It helped us so much to figure out exactly where he would fit in,” said Morales. “Since it was beneficial for my older son, it would be beneficial for my middle son.”
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, you can’t pass it up,” said Junior Jared Noel’s mother Carmen.
“I don’t think [students] should come alone,” said Junior Niasia Hernandez. “I think they should bring their parents because it will help them out with what their looking for.”
Some of the students were already aware of what majors they intended to pursue. For example, Senior Nadeem Patel wants to go to medical school; Senior Patrick Montenegro is interested in Pace University for Business Management; Seniors Maria Sacoto and Andrew Majana want to enter the health field; James Mercado wants to become an engineer and Junior Anissa Rago wants to pursue education like her mother, Denise Arenas, who is a vice principal at NBHS. Mercado’s advice to other students was to “ask a lot of questions, be prepared, write down a list of questions you want to ask.”
“It’s about their future, it determines what they’re doing in their life,” said Francis Cespedes. “It’s very convenient. I think we should take advantage of the opportunity that we have here.”
“I think it’s overwhelming,” said student Betty Zequeira. “You may have a hard time picking what school you want to go to.”
Many of the students are staying close to home for affordability and for academic excellence. Pascual could relate to the students that were unaware of what academic direction to take as he began with business marketing and combined it with education at Rider University.
“It’s a very successful program...,” said Pascual. “For our kids it’s great exposure.”
“Go to the school that will best fits you,” said Senior Justin Laureano.
Vanessa Cruz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org